Paternity

Family Lawyer

If a child is born to two parents not married to each other, the biological father has NO LEGAL RIGHTS and NO LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES. Paternity is a lawsuit that transforms a biological father (also called a putative father) into a legal father.

Just because a father appears on a birth certificate does not mean he is the legal father. Paternity would still need to be established in order for the father to gain any rights or the mother to receive any child support.


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If a mother who has a child born out wedlock ever applies to receive financial assistance from government (Medicaid, food stamps, welfare), the Department of Revenue (DOR) will file a Complaint to Establish Paternity against the biological father. A suspected biological father has a right to dispute parentage and request a DNA. If paternity is established by this method, this transforms the biological

father into a legal father. However, this creates an obligation for the father to pay child support only. It does not give the father any custodial rights or visitation rights.

If a biological father wishes to gain custodial or visitation rights after the DOR files a paternity action, he would either to file a third party cross claim against the mother in the DOR case, or file a subsequent

lawsuit to establish custodial rights. However, a biological father does not need to wait for the DOR to file. A Biological Father can file a lawsuit with the help of a Florida family law attorney called a Complaint to Establish Paternity.

Under the law, the father has the same chance of winning custody as the mother. The judge?s determination of who gets custody will be based on what

the judge thinks would be in the child?s best interest.

Even if the father is unable to win custody, he would be better off with paternity established in a lawsuit. Unlike a case that is filed by the DOR, the father will be able to get visitation rights, and the mother won?t be able to relocate out of state without the child without permission of the father or a judge.

If a mother

is married to someone other than the biological father at the time of the child?s birth, the child is presumed to be the legal child of the mother?s husband. The mother?s husband has a right to claim that he is not the biological father of the child and should not have to pay child support. However, the mother?s husband has a right to claim that the child is his regardless of the results of any

DNA test. In other words, if a biological father files a Complaint to Establish paternity, the mother?s husband can choose to assert his own rights to the child and defeat the biological father?s claim. Fortunately, when husbands learn that their wife is pregnant with a child of another man, they normally don?t choose to asset these rights.

A paternity action. is begun by the filing of a

lawsuit by a Florida family law attorney called a Complaint to Establish Paternity. The complaint is served by a process server on the other party. Once served, the other party has 20 days to file a document called an Answer which responds to the allegations contained in the complaint. Normally, the Answer contains a Counterclaim which countersues the original party.

Both parties have a

legal duty to file financial affidavits which give full disclosure of a party?s income, assets, debts, and financial obligations when they are going through a paternity case. Both parties also have to give full financial disclosure by providing tax returns, account statements, income statements, and business records to the opposing side. As your family lawyer. I will help you with the preparation of these documents

In a paternity action, both parties have the ability to conduct discovery on the other party. Methods of doing this include Requests for Production of Documents, Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, issuing subpoenas, and the taking of depositions.

As your family lawyer, I can file Motions which ask judge to grant temporary custody ,child support, or attorney fees. However, all judges require

the parties to attempt to mediate these issues before allowing a hearing to be set.